The Trick to Leaving Work at Work—and Still Being Productive

Aug 26, 2014 | Health, Productivity

Businesswoman covered in sticky notes

You have lots to do, responsibilities up to your neck. Heaven forbid you let one drop or forget to follow up.

This stress can cause distraction during your after-work hours, as you process the day’s events and anticipate the tasks of tomorrow. Years ago, a mentor gave me a tip that’s helped me to leave work at work and still get my to-do list done. Here it is:

“Write it out.”

Simple, right? I know, I know—you think you already do this. Your to-do list is written out (somewhere) on a sticky note. Or maybe your calendar even syncs with your laptop and phone.

That’s a great start. But that’s not what I mean.

Before you leave for the day, take a few minutes to evaluate three to five priorities you absolutely must get done tomorrow. Write them down in order of priority—then leave the list on your desk where you’ll see it as soon as you arrive in the morning.


Now you don’t have to keep this in your head, or be overwhelmed by your weekly/monthly calendar. You have a bite-sized to-do list. Tomorrow is figured out. Go home, relax, and spend quality time with friends and family.

When you arrive at work tomorrow, you’ll quickly start knocking out the big items first. The other tasks you accomplish are just icing on the cake!

Another bonus to this system is that three to five priorities still leave flexibility for unexpected happenings that might otherwise ruin your day.

Here’s to a worry-free evening!

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